See a Difference in Virginia's Justice System

WANT TO SEE A DIFFERENCE IN Virginia’s justice system?

Prosecutors are
the Difference.

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C.A. DIFFERENCE is a campaign to raise public awareness of the critical and powerful role elected prosecutors—called Commonwealth’s Attorneys in Virginia, or “C.A.’s” for short—play in shaping Virginia’s justice system. Simply put, C.A.’s make a BIG difference, and many of them are up for election this year. That’s why we started this initiative—to bring the work of elected prosecutors out of the shadows so that Virginia can “C.A.” Difference in 2019.



Commonwealth’s Attorneys — or “C.A.’s” for short — are the elected chief prosecutors in every county, city and town in Virginia. They are the most powerful individuals in the criminal justice system, shaping justice policy, deciding who gets charged with a crime and which crimes to enforce, and even exerting a powerful influence in the legislature.

In 2019, voters in at least six jurisdictions have a chance to decide whether their local prosecutors and criminal courts reflect their values, or whether it’s time to “C.A.” Difference in our broken justice system.



In 2019, voters in at least six Virginia cities and counties decide who will shape the future of their local criminal justice system. Learn about the races and candidates…

What’s a “Progressive prosecutor?”

Lately it seems every C.A. candidate wants to be a “progressive prosecutor.” But what does that really mean? And why does prosecutorial reform matter?


What happens when prosecutors take full-advantage of their ability to induce guilty pleas and maximize punishment? The unfettered exercise of prosecutorial power is what drives mass incarceration in America.

C.A. Difference Blog



Arlington County/Falls Church

Although Arlington and Falls Church pride themselves on progressive values, those values aren’t always evident in the local criminal justice system, where racial disparities are truly striking, and felony prosecution is unusually aggressive. Incumbent Theo Stamos (D) is challenged by reform candidate Parisa Tafti (D).

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Loudoun County

Loudoun remains the fastest growing county in Virginia. As its population has changed so have its values. James Plowman (R), who boasted of increasing felony prosecutions and eliminating favorable plea deals, is stepping down to take a Circuit Court judgeship. Candidates to replace him include local defense attorney Buta Biberaj (D) and Deputy CA Nicole Wittman (R).


Albemarle County

A mostly-rural county surrounding the world-class university town of Charlottesville, Albemarle’s criminal courts are a time capsule of old Virginia justice. Challenger Jim Hingeley (D), formerly Chief Public Defender for Albemarle and Charlottesville, is running as a reform candidate against incumbent Robert Tracci (R).

Fairfax County

With the largest court system in Virginia, Fairfax County boasts a diverse, sophisticated legal community. Steve Descano (D) challenges incumbent C.A. Ray Morrogh (D), pledging to end cash bail, promote racial justice, and move past “tough on crime” policies such as capital punishment and aggressive drug interdiction.


Prince William County

Under the direction of retiring C.A. Paul Ebert, Prince William became one of the 2% of jurisdictions in America responsible for a majority of executions since 1977. Candidates for the vacancy include local defense attorney Tracey Lenox (D), Amy Ashworth (D), an 11-year veteran of Ebert’s office, and Republican Mike May, a former county supervisor.


Chesterfield COUNTY

Chesterfield County is one of the largest court systems in Virginia not served by a public defender’s office. It’s lack of a committed indigent defense bar is borne out in its punitive approach to criminal cases. Reform candidate Scott Miles (D), who won a special election in 2018, runs again in 2019 as an incumbent.

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Get Involved

Have a question about C.A. Difference? Is your organization interested in partnering with us? Looking for more information about where and how to vote? We have you covered.


Become a Partner

Show your organization’s support for C.A. Difference by becoming a partner in the C.A. Difference Project.

Contact us

Have a question? Looking for more information about prosecutorial reform? Feel free to contact us.

Voting Information

Want to know when your election is or where to vote? Do you need to register to vote in 2019 elections?